Rakhine State flood victims need more aid
While the water level is receding, thousands of displaced families in the most hard-to-reach flooded areas are still lacking purified water, rice and other supplies, and ponds and wells need to be decontaminated.
DISPLACED families in Rakhine State say even though the heavy rains have stopped in areas most impacted by flooding, life has not returned to normal and aid is badly needed.
Transportation issues have left those who need the most assistance unreachable, said U Hla Thein Aung, a Rakhine State parliamentarian from Minbya township.
Some people returned to their homes after the rains stopped, he said. However, others are still sleeping in temporary shelter in places like monasteries. Most need purified water and rice or other food.
“Some affected areas, especially remote villages, could not be reached,” U Hla Thein Aung said. “Therefore, these areas have not received anything yet. They need aid.”
More than 20,000 people across five townships in Rakhine State were evacuated or lost their homes as heavy rains pounded the state earlier this month, according to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. More than 5000 homes were flooded and 19 were swept away, the ministry said.
Rakhine State Agriculture and Forestry Minister U Kyaw Lwin said the government has already provided enough aid to last 26 days across all areas impacted by flooding. Over 5000 bags of rice are ready for distribution if necessary, he said.
“We are providing to the best of our ability,” he said, “and we ordered all township administrative officers in areas that we could not reach to provide necessary aid.”
U Kyaw Win, a Mrauk-U township resident, said some places have not been reached by government support because they don’t have lists of the people hit by flooding.
“All wells have been flooded and the purified water is the most important thing,” he said. “Rice is especially needed.”
The United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ public information and advocacy officer Pierre Peron said that the UN and NGOs are now working closely with the authorities to assess the impact of the floods. They will support the government in responding to humanitarian needs.
It is likely that water ponds and wells will have been contaminated by the floodwaters, so there will likely be a need for water and sanitation, he said. People may have lost food and seed stocks, so in addition to short-term food it will also be important to ensure that they can sow their rice paddies in time for this season, he said.
“Unfortunately, many communities across Myanmar are regularly affected by floods during monsoon season and these latest floods are a reminder of the need for disasterrisk reduction programs to strengthen the resilience of people and communities in natural disasters,” he said.
U Ba Thaung, a resident of Kyauktaw township, said some displaced people are already back home cleaning out the mud that was left after the flooding.
“Some people from remote areas went back to their homes after it stopped raining,” he said. “Therefore most are not getting government provisions because the government could not reach the remote areas. I think they really need aid.”
Northern Rakhine State has been inundated since the beginning of July.